Britain yesterday said convictions of high-ranking individuals involved in corruption will reassure Kenyans of the government’s resolve to end high-handed graft.
Britain’s deputy high commissioner, Susie Kitchens, was clear that prosecution and conviction of the powerful people is the only way Kenyans will believe the government is serious on corruption.
Britain is taking this position after the American ambassador to Kenya also took a hardline stand on graft in Kenya demanding more prosecutions and conviction.
Such sentiments from the powerful nations is likely to put pressure of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government that has been battling graft that has threatened his legacy.
Kitchens said Corruption is theft from the Kenyan people and has long undermined the country’s prosperity, security, and democracy.
“No country is free of this scourge. Until fully dealt with, corruption will undermine Kenya’s long-term progress,” said Kitchens on Wednesday in Kajiado.
The UK deputy high commissioner, who was addressing MCAs at the Kajiado County Assembly, said those responsible for corrupt practices should be prosecuted regardless of the political party, social stature, or personal connections.
“Nothing will send a stronger signal to the people of Kenya, and the world, than convictions of high-ranking individuals,” stressed Kitchens in a terse statement on alleged deep-rooted corruption in Kenya.
Crucially, she said, devolution that works for the people of Kenya means doing more to tackle corruption at the county level, in line with the national anti-corruption campaign led by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Leadership is a sacred trust, conferred by the people on those who govern them; and honour for those elected to serve, she said.
“As a firm friend of Kenya and all of its devolved administrations, the UK is committed to supporting Kenya’s fight against corruption and its goal of greater prosperity for all its citizens,” she said.
Achieving these goals, the deputy high commissioner said, will happen only through strong Kenyan political leadership supported by zero tolerance for corruption from all Kenyans.
She said this will secure the gains of devolution and free up more of Kenyan taxpayers’ resources to finance transformative development.
“I urge all of you here today to continue to support this fight for the benefit of all the wananchi of Kajiado,” she told the MCAs.
The envoy said the United Kingdom has a long and deep history with Kenya, and they cherish a relationship with this country, and connections to all 47 counties, including your Kajiado.
“I am here because Kajiado, along with other counties in the region, remains a focus for us as a donor, in an overall programme for Kenya worth around Sh40 billion every year,” she said.
One of the UK’s priorities in Kenya, and in Kajiado, she said, is working together to enhance educational opportunities for children, and for the girl child in particular.
She said that on Tuesday she visited Enkasiti Primary school in the county, which is receiving funding from the UK’s Girl’s Education Challenge programme.
The programme, the envoy said, supports 90 schools across Kajiado County.
“We are working with this, and many other schools in Kenya, to improve girls’ literacy and numeracy skills, develop girls’ life skills, and raise girls’ aspirations,” she said.
It was inspiring, she said, to hear from the girls how well they are responding to those opportunities, becoming more self-confident, skilled and ambitious.
Earlier today I met with the Deputy Governor of Kajiado County, Honourable Martin Moshisho Martine. We spoke about a range of issues, including the successes and benefits of devolution in Kenya.
She spoke at the county assembly after holding a meeting with county Deputy Governor, Martin Moshisho.
The envoy said she is proud that the UK has contributed almost 3 billion shillings over four years to provide capacity building and technical assistance to devolution and to county governments across the country.
“Last Friday’s high-profile State of Devolution address by the Chairman of the Council of Governors, Johnson Osoi, made clear how devolution continues to transform Kenya,” she said.
Osoi had earlier introduced Kitchens to the members of the county assembly.